So there we were, standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon. It was sleeting hard, so the Lovely Bride and I had most of the Southern Rim to ourselves. The far side of the canyon was an invisible blur of dark grey, and beneath our feet tendrils of fog swirled among the blood-red outcroppings.
And, I, experiencing the geological equivalent of finding a fine pocket watch on the beach, a thing of beauty out of place with its surroundings, had to ask: How did this come about?
The immediate options were not promising:
- An angry Old Testament god who went about smiting people did this. Why smite such a place in first place? Practice for more practical smitings later?
- A forgiving New Testament god who went around pardoning people did this. Turning the other cheek, though, is not a process that produces stunning geology.
- The slow process of erosion and uplift used the natural forces of nature to produce, almost at random, the scene before me. Possible, but both stylistically unfulfilling and boring to boot.
And then it came to me, the tales from my youth – the Grand Canyon was created by Paul Bunyan dragging his axe across the Colorado Plateau. Yes, that seemed right. Only a gigantic physical figure could create such a vista. Don’t give me any of those mysterious forces or unseen gods. A real being made this, and this was in turn physical proof of his existence.
And suddenly I was enlightened. And I google checked and found that the mighty Bunyan, with his apostles Babe the Blue Ox and accountant Johnny Inkslinger, was responsible for much of the building of this country. Not the political building, but rather the physical arrangements. Primeval America was a void without feature. Paul dug the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, and the dirt he threw up became the Alleghenies and the Rockies. His wading ashore created the tides at the Bay of Fundy. He made Puget Sound and cleared the great forests of North Dakota. In an attempt to out-do the Great Wall of China, created the Mima Mounds.
It is so clear to me now that this is Paul Bunyan’s world – and we only live in it. Doesn’t the Bible itself support this view by saying “There were giants in those days”? The only explanation for the world is a race of American Titans, who worked their wonders on the land in a prodigious, productive, and prolific manner, building this land through their sweat and oversized muscles. These are beings worthy of our worship, who up until now have been cast into the darkness as mere “folk tales”.
There is an American Pantheon with Bunyan as its leader. We have John Irons and Pecos Bill and Joe Magarac. We have Stormalong, who is the Folk America version of Aquaman – lame, but necessary. We have a host of colossi that made America great, as any fool can see!
SO I call upon my government to reject the false idols of both creationism and science, and instead embrace the only beings worthy of our fervent worship. With the creation of my American Titanic Church, we will carry our message further, infiltrating school boards and making outrageous demands of the Park Service. We will make ourselves a tax-exempt lobby under our gods, and use them as justification for all our actions in their name. We speak for the trees, in the voice of Paul Bunyan!
And here’s your chance to get in on the ground floor. Priesthoods are available at reasonable rates. Gimme a Hey Paul, here!
Art and craft and writing and time - I've been looking for creative outlets the last couple of months, things that are deliberately *not* writing, because writing is really loaded for me right...
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